All posts filed under: Vegetarian

Salad Pizza – for real!

It’s an oxymoron, Salad Pizza. But seemingly disparate things do seem to find a place in my heart and my kitchen. I can’t really take credit for this pizza idea. I chanced across this in a darling little pizza joint that’s opened close to my house. (Review soon enough…). Tomatoes and Arugula on a Crisp Pizza base! With the recent bumper luck of arugula availability at my door step – it’s also super easy to make.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Let’s face it – porcini mushrooms are expensive. It’s not something that finds its way into my grocery list AT ALL. But there are odd days (when the salary account has been credited) that one is inclined to feel generous. So I picked up a teeny tiny bottle of it for half a thousand rupees. When coming up with an idea to use it judiciously – a Porcini Mushroom Risotto was a no brainer. The mushrooms would lend themselves nicely to being slowly rehydrated while cooking the risotto and the flavor and color would permeate the stock. And to be fair, just half a cup of Porcini mushrooms is more than enough to make that risotto praise worthy. Cooking risotto is like barbequing something – you have to hang around. The stock has to be poured in ladle by ladle while the rice absorbs the liquid and gets plump. And you need to use your intuition and your tasting spoon to know when it’s ready. Lucky for you, I use a fail-safe risotto recipe that …

Breaking the jinx with Mushroom Melts

The thing about leisurely cooking in the afternoon, is that I get to take pictures. And that is a privilege that I seem to have lost with my current work schedule. Add to that, the imagined pressure of blogging about something fabulous and you have yourself a pretty non-existent blog over a couple of months. (Sorry Shwe!) So I’m breaking the jinx and blogging about something. Even if it’s something really simple. Something I make myself pretty often and something that I really like. My normal grocery shopping always includes a packet of button mushrooms. I like to toss these babies into omelets, pulaos, stews and casseroles. But what I like to do most is just sauté them in butter and garlic and pile them mile high on some good bread. The key to making this more than ‘mushrooms on toast’, is to know how to sauté the mushrooms. What we are looking for is a nice seared brown outside and a juicy plump center. Overcrowding mushrooms in the pan and/or adding them in before …

Baingan Bharta (Indian Spiced Aubergine/ Eggplant Mash)

Baingan Bharta is something that I was introduced to seven years ago. (Basically, ever since I started working and it was de rigueur to have lunch in the office cafeteria!). The cafeteria food sucked. And day after day it was pure torture to let the undercooked, over spiced, all-round-sad food enter our mouths. I could have opted to take a lunchbox from home, but it was just too much work in the morning. (Besides, in those days I thought I was too cool for a lunch box!). So it was almost a godsend when a little Dhaba (highway or roadside restaurant; very popular in the North of India) opened up next to office. This was run by a Punjabi family who served home style meals at a modest price. (Which suited our pockets just fine!). They had a fixed menu written on a black board everyday and fixed quantities that would run out if you reached later than 1:30 pm. So we religiously moved our lunch break to 12:30pm and ensured we got the pick …

PanchPhoran Dal (Five Spice Lentils) – Comfort food at it’s Best!

I know I’ve said many times that making regular dal and rice bores me. That dosen’t mean I don’t make it. No week is complete without Dal being made atleast twice. It’s what we grew up on and it’s what I crave when I come back from a long trip to unfamiliar places. Eating dal and rice with a veggie on the side and a smattering of pickle is nothing short of a homecoming! The fact that it’s such a commoner on the dinner table and gets made so often, I’ve actually never written down a recipe for dal. So this was my first attempt at documenting the precise quantities. I kept a little sheet of paper next to me and kept jotting down what I threw into the pan. Now I finally have a dal recipe that I can pass to the co-resident and ask him to attempt it when am too bored to move a muscle J We use mustard seeds and curry leaves to temper the dal. However, this one uses a …

Flame Grapes and Green Apple Salad

Yes I’m trying to show off and no the grapes are not on fire. That’s just a name for a variety of grapes that are both white and red in colour. Quite pretty really. They are also seedless and firm. Perfect for use in a salad. The tang of the green apple superbly complements the sweetness of the grapes and we bring it all together with some lovely lemon herb mayonnaise dressing. Now I, (like most people) was not a very big fan of salads in the younger days of yore. We even called it Ghas Phoos. (Those who know, will know!). But now that’s I’ve grown older wiser, I gladly fill up my plate with the goodies. I’ve even been known to order just salad for lunch! (Ha ha ha … really got you on that one din’t I??) Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is … some salads do taste awesome! And though you probably won’t bypass a meal to eat just one, it won’t hurt to pile some on your plate. …

Paneer Butter Masala

Growing up in a South Indian household, Paneer was as exotic a dish to us as Polenta. Tandoor on M.G. Road was one of the first places I had a Paneer Makhni. Dada took us there with his business partner and family, when I was in junior school. The setting was formal and royal (ok, the waiters were dressed up in a turban!) and I was in awe of all the golden chandeliers. And there I tasted it…rich and creamy and tomatoey and cheesy. I was hooked…have been ever since. After that, it was something I religiously ordered whenever we dined out in a ‘North Indian restaurant’. (Ok, I still do!) The dish of course has moved from being exotic to completely local, with every Darshini across the corner serving ‘Paneer Butter Masala’! It’s almost staple in a North Indian Thali ordered in Bangalore. We never cooked paneer at home, because sourcing good paneer was difficult in the earlier days and mom’s home made paneer was at best – tough. Thankfully we have now come …

Gorgeous Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera was the classic 70’s dish. Apparently invented in a French restaurant in New York City, it was the popular high style dish that you indulged in, when you ate out. Indulged in because, it’s a host of veggies but doused in butter, cream and cheese. Of course that got my attention and now it is one of my favorite veggie pasta versions. The sauce is almost a smackdown copy of the Alfredo but the treatment is a little different with the addition of cornstarch and stock. Since it’s got cream, I would suggest making the sauce just before serving as reheating tends to make the cream go all watery. The original dish uses French beans, peas and asparagus. I din’t have any of that at home, but mushrooms, spinach and broccoli sounded way good. To zing it up, I added sun dried tomatoes and jalapenos, trust me this is the only way I’m going to me making it henceforth!  The colors and textures were just beautiful to look at and amazing to eat. …